February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Winners for the Hans Christian Andersen Book Awards Announced


Cover of one of Nahoko Uehashi’s books published in the United States/Scholastic

Congratulations to the two winners for the Hans Christian Anderson Books Awards, considered one of the oldest and most celebrated international awards in children’s literature. Both victors were announced at a press conference at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy March 24.

The 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award goes to:

Nahoko Uehashi (Japan)

The 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award goes to:

Roger Mello (Brazil)

Uehashi was selected from 28 authors nominated for the Award. As reported in SLJ, the five finalists were Ted van Lieshout (Netherlands), Houshang Moradi Kermani (Iran), Mirjam Pressler (Germany), Renate Welsh (Austria), and Jacqueline Woodson (United States).

Uehashi writes unique fantasy novels from the viewpoint of cultural anthropology. She believes one thing, that people from every corner of the world have in common is a love for telling stories. Her stories about honor and duty, as well as fate and sacrifice are refreshing and embody authentic Japanese values. Her fantasy worlds are loosely based on medieval Japan—while at the same time—are very much worlds of her own making. Not content to simply create a landscape of geography and mythology, Uehashi includes allusions to the class system and the interaction between spiritual and moral dimensions.

Mello was selected from 30 illustrators nominated for the Award. As reported in SLJ, the five finalists were François Place (France), Rotraut Susanne Berner (Germany), Øyvind Torseter (Norway), Eva Lindström (Sweden), and John Burningham (United Kingdom).


Mello’s illustrations provide avenues to explore the history and culture of Brazil. His work gives credits to a child’s ability to recognize and decode cultural phenomena and images. His illustrations allow children to be guided through stories by their imagination. Travel and discovery are important aspects of Mello’s artistic expression, and the rich content of his illustrations reflect his passion for folklore and love for world exploration. Through his highly colorful and thrilling illustrated stories, children gain deeper understanding of both their own culture and that of others. Mello invites them to immerse themselves in different ways of life, thus establishing a respectful, appreciative understanding of other cultures. He shares his interests in Brazil and in international culture and ritual with his readers, taking them on a journey through time and space. His illustrations are innovative and inclusive, and they incorporate images that promote tolerance and respect for the world’s cultures and traditions.